Premise: We all perceive the same world, yet do not come to the same conclusions.
States of being can answer the question as to why some people care about the world and others do not. The fundamental anxiety which drives us to change, the evolution through crisis, is not felt equally in all people. Not even within oneself is anxiety at a constant.
For instance, think of noise pollution. A person does not have a set limit of what they can take before anxiety kicks in. At present I am extremely sensitive to noise. A man shouting in the night will make my fight or flight systems activate. At its worst extremes, mice scratching in the skirting board would have me woken up in a cold sweat! How much sound effects me is not just a matter of how loud or piercing it is, but what my current state is; how well that state can cope with the world.
It is entirely subjective how much we can take. Certain things can be done to help deal with perceived threats – mindfulness can slow down your system and lower anxiety, as can medication or natural remedies. But what can change the fact that your state of being is just deeply sensitive? What can alter you from a state of constantly feeling hurt and triggered, reliving trauma again and again, to a more stoic state where you can just survive the world? Tomorrow it might just happen. In a few hours energy might return. We can take steps towards these things, but I believe there will always be some element of mystery to the complex equation of these states.
It seems like some people are more sensitive than others. There are some, perhaps who do not feel much anxiety, who do not seem to mind too much that our species could annihilate itself. Is it because they are cut off from their own repressed emotions, and survive through ignorant numbness? Do they simply direct their negative emotions outwards onto others and thus escape extremes of their own suffering? Is their morality and core beliefs simply far lower in ambition and thus much less caring?
At the core of our characters we all have our own life-myth or narrative. Could it be that Janet X knows things are bad at the back of her mind, but the immediate life-myth of working in the system gives her the routine-strength needed to endure? I think the answer to all the last four questions is ‘yes’.
The drug of work and ignorance keeps the state of being relatively stable, relatively enduring. It is an unsatisfying, but certain, way to live.
I think that because my routine has fallen apart there is no structure to my amorphous state, so sensitivity is increased as a result. And with increased sensitivity comes increased anxiety and increased anxiety means insomnia, vulnerability, tiredness and so forth. My state of being is partially a result of this choice to engage with the darker aspects of the world. But by fully perceiving problems in the world and in the self, the ability to challenge them or triumph against them diminishes.
Perhaps it is true that the only way we can win against the destructive giant on the horizon is to keep our head behind our shield as we approach him, to sometimes ally with his slave-legions and sometimes to fight them, to cross dangerous bridges and make dark pacts with fell powers to reach our noble ends.
I am standing atop a mountain with a clear view out to the monster which destroys all that is good. I feel my feet on the stone and know of the deep roots of that mountain, all the pain and sadness that is within it, and I give those feelings expression. It is a dual-doom. No wonder my state of being is so shaken and the task seems so monumental.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel we need to put our head above the clouds and our feet need to become roots which delve into the earth. If we had never dared this, how would we know there is a problem to deal with in the first place? This vulnerable, sensitive state of being is the reason why I am able to know what is wrong in the first place; to truly care for myself and others. It costs the soul much energy to go to that dark place, but it also frees up trapped energy.
This anxiety is an adaptive tool of evolution, it alone is what will pull us through. Better to suffer it with the promise of transformation than to live in ignorance and folly.